RUSAPE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - The last time white Zimbabwean
farmer Rob Smart left his land it was at gunpoint, forced out in June by riot police armed with tear gas and AK-47 assault
He returned on Thursday to ululations and tears of joy from former workers and their families who were
also kicked out - a jubilant return and the first sign that the president who has replaced Robert Mugabe is making good
on a vow to stop illegal land seizures and restore property rights.
Scores of jubilant black Zimbabweans nearly knocked the 71-year-old off his feet as he and his
two children stepped out of their car and onto their land for the first time in six months.
was taken up by Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s then vice-president who heard of Smart’s violent eviction while
at an investment conference in Johannesburg.
became president last month following a de facto coup that ended 93-year-old Mugabe’s rule. In the latter half of
his 37 years in power, Zimbabwe’s economy collapsed, especially after the seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial
farms under the banner of post-colonial land reform.
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